Texas journalist becomes the first Sir Harold Evans fellow

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Waylon Cunningham, a journalist and photographer currently at the San Antonio Report in Texas, has become the first Sir Harold Evans investigative journalism fellow. Having previously written for the Los Angeles Times, The Austin Chronicle and The Texas Observer he’ll be travelling to Reuters’ London office at the start of 2023 to start an investigative project lasting six-to-nine-months. 

Cunningham, 29, wrote in his application for the fellowship: “I was raised in a mobile home in East Texas, where I learned to string barbed wire for cattle fences before I knew how to read.” Despite these challenges, Cunningham continued to follow his journalistic dreams, and 2020 he became the Selden Ring Fellow for Investigative Journalism at the Annenberg School of Journalism in California, which is consistently ranked best in the world for its Communications course in the QS global rankings.

During his stint at the Los Angeles Times, Cunningham wrote an investigative piece about an unauthorised sub-cult of police officers in the local force with the headline: “These ‘rogue’ deputies were fired. So how did the Jump Out Boys win back their badges?” At the San Antonio Report, Cunningham focused on business and technology briefings, which helped prove the breadth of his talent as he wrote about important local issues.

“I know that Harry would have wanted to hire Waylon in a heartbeat”

tina brown cbe

The fellowship scheme was announced last year following the death of Sir Harold Evans in 2020. Evans started his career at Palatinate and became Editor-in-Chief at the paper in 1951. He went on to have a successful journalism career including being editor of The Sunday Times from 1967-81, where he fought a campaign to bring justice to the victims of the drug thalidomide. He also became editor-at-large of Reuters and has been voted the Greatest British Newspaper Editor of all time.

The judges rated Cunningham’s CV highly, saying they were impressed with his “enterprise, tenacity and commitment to rigorous fact-finding,” while Alessandra Galloni, current Editor-in-Chief at Reuters, applauded his “originality and determination, with a distinctive vantage point on the world.”

Tina Brown CBE, Sir Harold’s widow and an editor in her own right, said about Cunningham’s selection: “It’s thrilling… I know that Harry would have wanted to hire Waylon in a heartbeat. He has all the makings of an outstanding career in journalism.”

On establishing a $2m endowment to the initiative, David Thomson, Chairman of Thomson Reuters, said that “Harry cast an immense shadow and his spirit hovers today, stronger than ever,” and added that Reuters “believes it will attract and inspire individuals who truly believe in the future of journalism. Harry could never have wished for a finer narrative.”

Professor Karen O’Brien, Durham’s Vice-Chancellor, hailed the University as “a world leading-centre of research with a proud history of uncovering truths on the basis of evidence and enquiry.” 

Image: Durham University

One thought on “Texas journalist becomes the first Sir Harold Evans fellow

  • Fantastic first print piece!

    Reply

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